Cootamundra’s very own Jake Williams has won the 2021 National Historical Machinery Association Ian Stewart Old Machinery Young Enthusiasts Award for New South Wales.

The Ian Stewart Award was established in 2020 to perpetuate the memory of Ian Stewart, who was instrumental in the formation of the NHMA through his TOMM Magazine, founded in August 1986.

The NHMA established the Ian Stewart award to encourage young machinery restorers to gain skills, qualifications, tools or heritage studies, and keep the hobby alive for future generations.

Young achievers between the age of 10 to 25 and who are a member of a local restoration and preservation club are eligible for the award. 15-year-old Jake, who is a Year 10 student at Sacred Heart Central School, took about four months to restore his project, a 1958 Buzacott Farm Pumper, equating to over 100 hours of work.

Jake allocated his weekends, after school time and holidays to work on his beloved restoration project, whilst also receiving help from a family friend mechanic.

$8,000 is allocated annually by the NHMA for the Ian Stewart Award, with the winner from each state and territory receiving $1000 each.

Steve Carter from Harden, one of the two NSW representatives for the NHMA, presented Jake with his award and cheque last Wednesday afternoon at his family’s Cootamundra home, in front of his mother, Sharon, and father, Andrew.

Final submissions for the competition were due to be sent to NHMA Secretary Bill Ives by February 1st, postponed from December 1st last year due to Covid.

Jake documented the progress of his restoration work in a photographic workbook as a requirement of the competition, which he sent up to the NHMA judges in Queensland, before the organisation confirmed him as a winner about eight weeks ago.

The NSW NHMA committee of 15 members decided that Jake’s workbook documentation and design went above the rest.

There are over 9,000 members of the NHMA in Australia, with Jake outperforming every fellow New South Welshmen.

For winning the award, Jake will be required to have his machine on public display for national, state and regional events.

Carter from the NSW NHMA said Jake’s documentary process went above the rest and was one of the key factors in him winning the Ian Stewart award.

“His book was unbelievable. His documentary of his work was thorough and really showed the process of the restoration from start to finish,” Carter said.

“Jake didn’t do the project for the profit of it, but for the love of restoration.

“It’s a pretty impressive achievement for Jake to win the award at just 15 years of age, he’s got a lot ahead of him too.”

Jake and his father purchased the pump in Young before restoring it to its former glory as a functional machine.

The Farm Pumper works a water pump which is attached to a windmill and operates via its

cogs.

“We restored the pumper with parts we collected from Goulburn and Young. We got the idea from other motors, and then repainted it,” Jake said.

“The toughest thing about restoring the pumper was finding the right parts for the machine.

“I got into restoring machines because of dad. Dad and I are both members of the Cootamundra and District Machinery and Restoration Society and attend monthly meetings.”

Andrew explained the tricky process surrounding finding parts for the pumper and estimated that the total cost of the project amounted to over $500.

“We found most of the parts on the internet. I rang one bloke, who had a contact at Goulburn. We went down to see him and got the rest of the parts,” Jake’s father said.

Jake is still weighing up what to do with his $1,000 prize money, but he has a few ideas.

“I’m going to save some of it and probably put some towards a new project.”

Jake’s restored farm pumper will feature in the next edition of the TOMM magazine, which publishes six editions a year. Last year’s state winner of the Ian Stewart award hailed from the Central Coast and restored a lawnmower. Well done to Jake on the great achievement of winning the Ian Stewart Award.

Tim Warren